January 21, 2018 / 3:12 PM / 6 months ago

Contrite Facebook executives seek to ward off more European rules

* Policy chief apologises for responding slowly to hate speech

* Faults German law for making firms "judge, jury and enforcer"

* Praises EU code of conduct on illegal content

* Facebook execs to Europe, Davos to make case it is responding

By Eric Auchard and Douglas Busvine

MUNICH, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Facebook executives are fanning out across Europe this week to address the social media giant’s slow response to abuses on its platform, seeking to avoid further legislation along the lines of a new hate speech law in Germany it says goes too far.

Facebook's communications and public policy chief used an annual meeting in Munich of some of Europe and Silicon Valley's tech elite to apologise for failing to do more, earlier, to fight hate speech and foreign influence campaigns on Facebook.

"We have to demonstrate we can bring people together and build stronger communities," the executive, Elliot Schrage, said of the world's biggest information-sharing platform, which has more than 2 billion monthly users.

"We have over-invested in building new experiences and under-invested in preventing abuses," he said in a keynote speech at the DLD Munich conference on Sunday.

In the United States, lawmakers have criticised Facebook for failing to stop Russian operatives using its platform to meddle in the 2016 presidential elections, while Britain's parliament is looking again at the role such manipulation may have played in Britain's Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

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